Our Government has a large programme in the development of sheep and goat breeding. Goat breeding is based upon planned development. Because of the financial interest of the kolhozes and sovhozes, as well as of the private sector, for the last 10 years commodity prices of mohair, goat down and other goat products have been increased several times. Due to this the number of goats is increasing, productivity is also increasing and consequently total production. Specialization of the farms and the concentration of goat herds is under way, there are now big breeding and commodity farms having 10 to 40 – 50 thousand head each. All around the country goat breeding yields a high income.
In many regions of the country goat breeding is a traditional activity. The people of many regions of RSFSR and other republics for a long time bred milk goats and are famous for their milk products, while the people of Asian republics are famous for home-made carpets, no lower in quality and beauty than Persian. Orenburg produces the famous down shawls - where from century to century and hand to hand the skill and love of the profession is passed. Thus, a long time ago was born the down knitting craft. The fineness of work, original pattern and the beauty of the whole trimming made the Orenburg shawls world famous. For the first time in 1857 and 1862 at the international fairs in Paris and London, the visitors were able to admire the unique articles of the Orenburg knitting craft, which even today, at the international fairs are valued as artworks.
All this was possible owing to the existence of the unique domestic goat breeds. The Orenburg goat has the finest down (fibre thickness ranging from 10 to 15μm). The average yield of down is 350 – 400 g (fibre length 5 to 11 cm). Among all known mohair goats those living near the river Don have the highest down productivity. The average yield from the productive bucks is 1.1kg, maximum 2.1kg, while from does the corresponding values are 600 g and 2 kg. Adult goats have an average fibre thickness of down of 18 μm and the length of down fibre varies from 6.7 to 13.2cm.
The high-mountain Altay breed has similar qualities. The body weight of bucks is 65 to 70 kg, the yield of down equals 600 to 900 g, length of fibre -8 to 9 cm, thickness of fibres - 17 to 18 μm and the content of down in the fleece is 65 – 75%. Corresponding figures for does are 41–44 kg, 450 – 600 gr, 8 – 9 cm, 16 – 17 urn and 65 – 70%
Our mohair goat breeds have many valuable biological qualities as a result of long-term selection under severe natural conditions, which range from burning deserts to rocky high mountains. While many goat breeds in the world, especially in Europe, are selected and bred in good environmental conditions, in many regions of our country nature is not favourable. Our breeds withstand temperatures down to -40°C and summer heat and drought. Because of such training the goats are less dependent on conditions of maintenance at pasture; at the same time they are responsive to the good conditions of feeding and maintenance.
USSR Academy of Agricultural Science, East Division, Moscow, USSR.
Since my theme is concerning mohair goat breeding in the USSR I would like to present to you the materials we have. To describe the methods related to the creation of mohair production in our country it is necessary to present the historical aspect. The mohair goat breeding in USSR began from the angora goat. The Turks jealously protected the angora goat as their monopoly. The exclusive qualities of mohair is the reason that the Europeans insistently solicited the goat and later the Americans tried to obtain them.
The breeders who improved and developed the angora breed left to us a valuable monument. In the features of these beautiful animals is reflected the perfection of folk skill and experience, or as Marx said, “in the livestock is the stamp of man's hand”. It is still of interest to the researchers to discover how, when and where the angora goat had its origins. As it is known, when man for the first time met the angora goat in Turkey people tried to acclimatize her in different countries.
The Angora was first imported into Russia in 1811 and 1814, but the Angora goats failed to acclimatize and became only decorative animals. In some places there were even attempts to bring Turkish goat families, but the results even successful in the begining did not leave positive traces. The Soviet Government got interested in this breed in the early thirties. In February 1936 goats from Texas, America were delivered to Novorossiysk and were distributed to different regions of the country. However, from literature sources it is known, that these animals did not adapt well to the new conditions being least satisfactory in the mountain regions of the Asian and Caucassus republics, also in Dagestan ASSR. Among them was observed great sterility of the does with many deaths and a drastic decrease in wool productivity.
Therefore, solving this problem by breeding pure breeds of angora goats using their acclimatization had no prospects. It became obvious that it was necessary to conduct crossing between domestic does and angora bucks. The work was done mainly in the Asian republics and Kazahstan. The resulting research on different crossbreds enabled choices to be made as to what direction and to which generation to keep the crossbreeding, how the productive qualities were inherited and formed through both parental forms in the generation and in which one to select the desired type.
Thus, the work on creation of the mohair goat breeding went in two phases: the first, when we used the converting method of crossbreeding to obtain domestic animals of different generations, the second, when we used the method of reproductive crossbreeding to consolidate the desired factors. By the end of the fifties the work of creating a wool goat breed was completed.
Considering the identity of the main manner in breeding and the shared origins of the animals, the scientific and technical council of the Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR decided in 1962 to amalgamate all breed groups of goats in the Asian republics and Kazahstan into one giving it the “sovietskaya sherstyanaya”-soviet woolen. At the time of officially approving the herds of soviet wool breeds and their crosses in our country there were about 500,000 head, including 200,000 purebred.
BREEDING AND PRODUCTION
The Soviet wool goats are well adapted to different conditions in the Soviet Union. The goat has a firm body, strong limbs with hard hooves and is adapted to stony pastures and long drives. The wool of our mohair goats is known in manufacturing as “mohair” or “tiftic”. In accordance with the existing standards the mohair is divided in two groups. In the first is included the wool of the pure-breeds; in the second - the crossbreds. For the manufacturing standards the mohair is divided further into classes corresponding to the thickness of the fibre. In both standards the length of the wool must be no less than 10 cm. In favourable conditions the mohair can grow up to 2.5cm per month, so harvesting can be done twice a year. Annual growth of the wool varies from 18 to 30 cm, and the output of pure fibre at 85 – 92%. The napping of does when the nap is once a year gives 1.8 – 2.1kg, when twice a year - 2.1to 2.5kg; the bucks give, respectively, 3.5to 5 kg and 4.9to 6 kg.
Goats selected for breeding are of great value because of the level of their wool productivity. The record nap in bucks is 9.1kg and in does is 5.5kg.
Most of the Soviet wool goats in Kazakhstan are bred in the Semi palatine area where the breed was created.
The climatic conditions of the north east part of Kazakhstan differ from the conditions of the areas of intensive Angora goat breeding. Winter temperatures vary to a great extent and sometimes they fall to -45°C. In summer the temperatures can reach +41°C. Hence, the annual amplitude of the mean monthly temperature is almost twice that found in Texas, New Mexico and Turkish central Anadole. Thus, unlike all other wool goat breeds the Kazakhstan wool goats are highly adaptable to the severe conditions of the republic. It should be noted that the semi-palatine area is in the northernmost area of Angora goat breeding in the world and of wool goat breeding in the country. It shows the wide ecologic capacities of the Kazakhstan population. The winter period lasts 160 – 180 days. When they are housed the goats receive 2 – 3 kg of roughage (hay, alfalfa and straw) plus concentrate (250 – 300 g) per head. The goats are kept in sheephouses with heating provided. Flocks of old goats consist of 400 – 500 heads, young animals, 600 – 650 head, breeding bucks, 100 – 220 and castrates, 800 –- 850 head. During the winter housing period the goat population is concentrated on a specialized farm while the mother goats are kept on state farms.
We have developed and produced the technical equipment in accordance with the biological peculiarities and the exterior of the goats. Thus, food distribution, watering and removal of manure are mechanized. Feeding of the goats in winter is effected on fenced sites in the open air where the racks are placed. Mating of goats is organised in two periods: the first one being in September, the second in November. Shearing of goats is effected in the middle of April. In Autumn, flocks are formed according to grades and age on the basis of goat evaluation. Selection of first grade and elite animals is individual.
The higher the stock and breeding value of the breed, the more perfect should the methods of selection be. The great demand for mohair in the country puts forward the scientific and research work in the field of improvement of productive qualities and breeding traits of the Soviet wool breed.
In our selection work we support the consolidated adaptive qualities of the Soviet wool breed inherited from the domestic Kazakh breed. Nowadays the Kazakh wool goats significantly excell the Angora and other analogous wool breeds in the world in terms of body weight and the exterior. Thus, according to Bilgemre (1953) height at withers of Angora goats is 25.6 cm at birth, 41.2cm at 12 months of age and 48.2 cm at 18 months of age, while height at withers of the soviet wool breed is 26.3%, 14.8% and 6.8% higher at the respective ages. Liveweight of female kids is 2.3kg at birth, 15.5kg at 4 months of age, and 33.5 kg at 18 months of age for male kids the corresponding figures are 2.5kg, 17.4kg and 35.1 kg, respectively.
Of a great commercial value is the wool of these goats. The length of the wool is up to 20 cm and more. A specific characteristic of this wool is its strong “silk shine” and its great strength. The output of pure wool in all sex and age groups is high (78 to 92.5% ).
The Kazakhstan population of wool goats is positively different from the Turkish and American Angora goats - it has more fine wool. While the fibre thickness of the angora wool goats varies in the range 32.4 to 49.3 microns, that of the Kazakhstan type is 23.9 microns for one year olds, 28.0 at two years of age and 32.7 in three year olds. Breeding bucks average 39.6 microns.
The overwhelming part of the wool sorts are 58, 56, 50 and 48 quality One of the important physico-mechanical quality indicators of wool is the uneven-ness coefficient. In accordance to the technical demands wool of the angora goats having the heterogenity coefficient of 27.7% for the 48 quality is considered equivalent to 24.2% for 46 quality. As it is seen in our data the unevenness co-efficient in groups of animals is 23.0% for the 56 quality; 25.2% for 50 and 48 quality and 28.3% for 44 quality. Thus the mohair wool corresponds to the wool standards.
I would like to draw attention to one of the most importance moments in the selection of wool goats. As it is known to you, the wool of the Angora and the Soviet wool breeds varies over a wide range. Such variation in thickness makes it difficult to keep the mohair standards and also defining and choosing the type wanted for selection. Some scientists prefer 44 – breed goats with thinner fibres.
In our pedigree-selection work with the Kazahstan population of wool goats we have the need to breed goats with wool having semi-rough fibres as well as with semi-fine. It is very important for the reason that the production of different mohair sorts enables more specific rational use of the raw material in manufacturing a greater assortment of products. We have established that the wool of the one year old goats of the line with fine fleeces has the quality of down. The Soviet wool goats may be recommended as a source of improvement for crossing of aboriginal goats. This gives the possibility of changing the domestic low productivity goat breeds and obtain wool with improved technological qualities.
To establish the effectiveness fo this crossing we conducted special experiments. A flock of does, numbering 700 head, was formed for this purpose and they were either black or black-and-brown. From the 775 kids born 636 (82.4% ) were white; 51 (6.6% ) were grey; 20(2.7% ) were straw coloured; 16(1.8% ) were black and 50(6.5% ) had assorted colours. The wool colour of the offspring generation, in contrast to the mothers, is characterized with great homogenity of the down and the transition hair. At the moment of weaning their rough hair falls and is replaced by light wool. The content of down and transition hair in the youngsters is 62.4%, while the original domestic goats had only 21.4% of down and transition hair.
In the matter of the goat breeding development we have many common problems. In the world there are many goat-wool products most of them are authentic art crafts and are liked by all the women in the world. But, despite the acknowledgement of these products, yet their quantity is far from enough.
Of course in a single speech it is not possible to state all the problems, scientific elaborations and achievements related to the goat breeding. There is no doubt that this activity will be the beginning to further useful cooperation between the scientists of many countries. There is a great field for such an activity. First of all I would like to create a goat breeding council which would enable the exchange of scientific and technical information, plan joint meetings for further scientific discussions of the problems, coordinate the question of exchange of pedigree goats, scientific staff training and solving many other questions concerning goat breeding development.
I would like on behalf of all colleagues of our country and of myself warmly to thank the organizers and initiators of the present meeting, which should serve well the on-going progress of science in the field of goat breeding.